OCEAN CITY – Unlike what’s often seen in today’s medical industry,, Ocean Pines Vision Care offers a unique approach to professional eye care, coupling 25 years of private practice experience with comprehensive, one-on-one examinations and personal care.
Dr. Jil Klein celebrates her 25th year in private practice this year, and while she has taught and practiced all over the world, from New York to Sydney, she still maintains the same goals she established from day one.
Klein knew from age 15 that she would pursue a career in optometry, falling in love with the profession early on.
“I just knew because I was studying and excelling in math and physics and optics and I enjoy working with people, I’m a people person,” Klein said.
Klein also got a glimpse into the profession through her own eye doctor, seeing first hand what her future would hold.
“I enjoyed my own eye doctor very much, he seemed to always be happy,” remembers Klein.
As a result she opted to spend summers observing his work, walking away with a lifelong passion and career.
A native New Yorker, Klein started her private practice in the World Financial Center in New York City. She also spent time lecturing and teaching in New York, eventually leading her to Australia, where she was recruited to teach and lecture. Klein spent the next 10 years down under, teaching, lecturing and maintaining a private practice in Sydney.
Klein would later moved back to the United States, embarking on a new experience at the Baltimore VA Medical Center Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins.
“They were teaching me what I didn’t know and I was teaching them,” said Klein.
Eventually, Klein began searching for a new place to settle down and build a new practice, but with the devastation of 9-11 to her home city, Klein opted to search for a new frontier and began researching areas in need of more eye care specialists.
“My computer said the Eastern Shore, so I got in my car and drove down here by myself. I had no idea what I was going to find,” she said.
The rest is history some would say, as Klein has spent the past 10 years providing professional eye care to the Eastern Shore from her two locations, Ocean Pines and Salisbury. She also maintains her love for teaching, lecturing year-round.
It’s her love for private practice and quality eye care that keeps her successful, however.
“For 25 years, I have truly maintained an independent, private, professional practice, it’s a dying breed,” she said.
With big chains offering 15-minute exams and oftentimes-impersonal service, Klein considers her practice a rarity.
While spending time with the patient to ensure all his or her needs are met is a top priority for Klein, she acknowledges that her approach on eye care is not for everyone. “I may not be everyone. I search for the patient who is going to be my partner in helping them help themselves. I am really for the patient that wants quality care,” she said.
As a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, Klein is charged with maintaining her skills and knowledge of the eye care profession through continued education, publishing, research, clinical practice and teaching. She is one of 2,000 optometrists (out of 38,000 in the U.S.) who maintain the highest credentials of the Fellowship.
From family eye care to contact lenses, Klein provides a full range of services, with emphasis on making sure the patient leaves her office feeling satisfied.
“I want them to see well, look great and feel special, that’s my goal,” she said.
Klein noted that oftentimes, proper eye care and yearly eye examinations are ignored or put on the backburner, a common occurrence that can have major affects on your life. Headaches, fatigue and inability to pay attention are just a few ways that improper eye care can affect daily life.
“I really believe that the way you function very much depends on how we treat our eyes. I can actually help people perform to their best ability,” she said.
Eye examinations are particularly important for children, said Dr. Klein, adding that a child’s’ problems in school are often misdiagnosed. A child’s difficulties with learning is often attributed to other areas, such as learning disabilities, however the problem could be as simple as not being able to properly see or read what’s in front of them.
“Often, it’s all because their eyes aren’t properly functioning, usually they just need an eye examine,” said Klein.
Throughout the past 25 years, Dr. Klein has strived to maintain a comfortable atmosphere in her office, as well as uphold her goal to perform comprehensive exams on each patient.
“It’s like they’re coming in to my own home. There’s not a lot of places where the doctor gets to know you and you feel comfortable with the doctor, but that’s what we have here,” she said. “I want people to leave here and really feel like, ‘wow, that was a great experience’.”